Phylicia Rashad is celebrating Bill Cosby's shocking release from prison.
Moments after word broke that Cosby's sex assault conviction is being overturned by the court, his former TV wife took to Twitter to share her delight in the news.
"FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!" Rashad tweeted, along with a photo of Cosby.
Rashad played Cosby's sitcom wife, Clair Huxtable, for all eight seasons on "The Cosby Show" from 1984 through 1992.
In the past, Rashad has supported Cosby, despite the numerous allegations from dozens of women who accused the comedian of drugging and raping them for years. Rashad has gotten heat in the past for speaking about the legacy of "The Cosby Show," rather than focusing on the women.
UPDATE: A few hours later, Rashad responded to the outpouring of online dismay to her original tweet with a follow up, writing, “I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward. My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth. Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing.”
On Wednesday evening, Howard University, where Rashad was recently appointed the Dean of the College of Fine Arts, issued a statement.
“Survivors of sexual assault will always be our priority. While Dean Rashad has acknowledged in her follow-up tweet that victims must be heard and believed, her initial tweet lacked sensitivity towards survivors of sexual assault,” the statement reads. “Personal positions of University leadership do not reflect Howard University’s policies. We will continue to advocate for survivors fully and support their right to be heard. Howard will stand with survivors and challenge systems that would deny them justice. We have full confidence that our faculty and school leadership will live up to this sacred commitment.”
Cosby's sexual assault conviction was overturned on Wednesday with Pennsylvania's highest court ruling that Cosby's agreement with a prosecutor in 2005 should have prevented him from being charged again.
Cosby was charged in 2015, and sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for raping Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia home in 2004. He was arrested just days before the 12-year statute of limitations expired on newly unsealed evidence. At his first trial in 2017, a judge at first allowed only one other accuser to testify, and the jury was not able to reach a verdict, but then, five more accusers were allowed to testify about similar allegations at the 2018 retrial, resulting in Cosby's conviction on April 26, 2018. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday, however, that the testimony at the trial was tainted, even though a lower court found that he showed a pattern of drugging and molesting women.
Rashad’s reaction is far different than most of Hollywood. Moments after the shocking news broke, actors like Ellen Barkin, Debra Messing and Amber Tamblyn tweeted their disgust in the justice system and stated that they stand in solidarity with the survivors who were assaulted by Cosby.
Rosie O’Donnell tweeted in all caps, “I guess 70 women weren’t enough.”
Barkin wrote, “Reap what you sow.”
Tamblyn — who has been a fierce supporter of Harvey Weinstein survivors and has publicly spoken out against the fallen producer and convicted rapist — posted about Cosby on Wednesday. “I am furious to hear this news,” Tamblyn tweeted. “I personally know women who this man drugged and raped while unconscious. Shame on the court and this decision.” She also tweeted about cancel culture, the #MeToo era and the justice system.
“Will & Grace” star Messing also posted on Twitter. “To every woman who was sexual assaulted by Bill Cosby my heart hurts for you today and I am full fury. It’s horrifying.”
Social justice activist, author and actor Rose McGowan — one of the first women to blow the lid on the truth about Weinstein — tweeted about Cosby, standing with the accusers.
However, a few positive tweets in support of Cosby have surfaced in Hollywood. Comedian Lil Duval tweeted, "Bill Cosby about to be free! City boy win summer 2021!"